By Scott Lehr, CFE, Senior Vice President, U.S. & International Development, International Franchise Association
Arriving by plane to Amman, the first thing you notice is the immaculate new airport. Modern, clean and efficient would best describe the scene as the U.S. Franchise delegation maneuvered through immigration and picked up their bags. The companies participating in Jordan included Hertz Equipment Rental, Johnny Rockets, Pollo Tropical, Tutor Doctor and Wing Zone. The group gathered on Saturday evening with Sandy Owens, Commercial Counselor and Muna Farkouh, Senior Commercial Specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service in Amman receive their schedules and prepare for the following day. Almost 40 one-on-one appointments were booked for the participating franchise companies for the one and a half days that we would be here in Amman.
Sunday morning, the U.S. Commercial Service and the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan hosted a breakfast for the delegation which included a visit by the U.S. Ambassador of Jordan, Stuart Jones. Mohammed S. Bataineh, Chairman of The American Chamber was also in attendance. The group met and discussed the opportunities for U.S. Brands in Jordan and connections to other markets in the region.
The delegation then heard from Nancy Dababneh of International Business Legal Associates on the current laws affecting franchising in Jordan. She reported that there is no specific franchise law in Jordan and that Franchise Agreements are governed by civil law. She also stressed the importance of spelling out in the Franchise Agreement the specific relationship between the franchisor and franchisee. She mentioned that there have been cases where the government considered the franchise relationship similar to a commercial agent/agency relationship and that the agreement should be viewed as an intellectual property license instead. The delegation then moved into their individual meetings which would be the focus for most of the day in Amman.
That evening, the group gathered at the Sufra Restaurant located in an old mansion on Rainbow Street in Amman for local Middle Eastern food and good conversation with new friends from the American Chamber in Jordan & colleagues from the mission. It was fascinating to learn about the Jordanian market from some of Jordan’s most prominent business leaders.
Day 2 in Amman included breakfast at a local restaurant and retail tours of two malls in Amman including Taj Mall and CityMall which showcased some of the American Brands that are already in Jordan including McDonald’s KFC, Quiznos, Hardees, Burger King, Carvel and Cinnabon.
Next and last stop on the U.S. Franchise Trade Mission to the Middle East is Doha, Qatar!